May 21, 2008
More than a year after their controversial ad suggested that financial aid officials were profiting at the expense of student borrowers, MyRichUncle’s in-your-face marketing tactics have again caused an uproar among college officials. The ads in question, ones recently found in The New York Times and USA Today, portray a split head—no brains—with the slogan, “I didn’t use my brain, I went straight to the financial aid office,” reported The Chronicle of Higher Education.
After MyRichUncle's initial ad ran, an investigation into college financial aid offices led to revelations that numerous colleges were receiving money to advertise select student lenders on their official preferred-lender lists. Since then administrators at a number of colleges and universities were forced to resign. Frustrated at the prospect of more accusations and worried that the self-serving actions of a few would come to represent the general view of college representatives, financial aid officials are fuming about the new ads.
To find what MyRichUncle could tell me that financial aid officials couldn’t, I visited the student lender's site. Expecting to see federal student aid definitions or information about college scholarships and grants under their “Financial Aid 101” heading, I instead found that I needed to download the latest flash player to see further results. Information about company loans was, of course, much easier to navigate.
May 20, 2008
The meaning of that embarrassingly scarlet F on your math test used to be pretty clear; you messed up—big time. While a failing grade still represents a lack of understanding, some schools argue that awarding scores below the 50 percent mark may do more harm than good. Worried that changing their GPA could become an impossible feat for students with particularly low grades, some districts have been controversially attaching a minimum score of 50 to all Fs. Because all other grades are based on a ten-point system, giving students at least 50 points is reasonable, they argue.
According to USA Today, opponents are concerned that schools awarding additional points were unfairly grouping all failing students together. ED Fields, the founder of HotChalk.com, a websites for educators and students, stated that, “Handing out more credit than a student has earned is grade inflation…I certainly don’t want to teach my children that no effort is going to get them half of the way there.”
Still, numerous schools have gone forward with their plans. The district of Hillsboro, Oregon hopes to ease into their change in grading policies, while a school in Port Byron, New York has already implemented a system wherein computers round up scores below an F. With some assistance, teachers hope that failing students can find sufficient incentive to improve their grades
May 19, 2008
As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” area of study scholarship consists of thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors.
Included is the Scholarships.com Design Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the design and related majors. Whether it’s interior design, clothing design or web design that inspires you, this award can help you pay for the classes. If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified): “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in design?”
Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge. 2. Applicant must be a US citizen. 3. Applicant must be an undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall. 4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Advertising, Architecture, Art,Commercial Arts, Design, Drafting/Computer Aided Design, Fashion, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Design, New Media, Surveying, Web Design
Deadline: July 31, 2008
Required Material: A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the design?”
Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.
May 16, 2008
On Thursday, the House passed a bill increasing the amount of federal aid awarded to college students who were veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though approved, the process was anything but smooth.
When it was introduced to the House, the tuition-benefits measure was just one part of a bill calling for additional war funding and a new troop withdrawal timeline. To avoid having to choose between appropriating additional war funds and aiding returning veterans, House Democrats split the bill up into three parts, only voting against the new war funding measure. After angry Republicans sat the vote out, the war-spending amendment was defeated. The provisions for a troop-withdrawal timeline and college and unemployment benefits, however, were passed.
The veteran education amendment would cover the tuition of eligible veterans as long as it did not exceed the most expensive public state university tuition in the veteran's area of residence. Those who decided to attend a private college where tuition surpassed that limit would receive the maximum public tuition as well as a dollar-for-dollar match for any additional aid provided to the student by that university.
As promising as the bill sounds to veterans, the odds are stacked against the probability of presidential and Senate approval. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, numerous senators disagree with the idea that federal student aid funds should be raised through taxes on the wealthy, and President Bush is at odds with the timeline and expensive domestic-spending provisions.
May 15, 2008
Numerous companies compensate their employees for returning to school, but some take things a step further by also helping their families. If you’re one of the lucky students whose parents work for the companies or industries listed below, you may be eligible for numerous college scholarships. Check out the awards below to see if you qualify.
The Two Ten Footwear Foundation If you or one of your parents works in the footwear or leather industry, you may be eligible to win a $3,000 scholarship renewable for up to 4 years of undergraduate study. Winners are selected based on academic record, personal promise, character and financial need. One Super Scholar will win a $15,000 award renewable for up to four years.
Butler Manufacturing Company Foundation Scholarship Program High school seniors who are children of full-time Butler Manufacturing Company employees can apply for the Butler Manufacturing Company $2,500 scholarship. Students must visit a plant and/or office location to obtain an application.
H.O. West Foundation Scholarship Program A scholarship of up to $2,500 is available to high school seniors who are dependents of individuals working for West Pharmaceutical Services. Students must enter a college or university the fall after graduating to meet eligibility criteria.
Joseph R Stone Scholarship Students whose parent or parents work in the travel industry (hotel, car rental, airlines, travel agency etc.) may be eligible for one of three $2,400 scholarships. Applicants must be pursuing a degree at an undergraduate college or university.
Alcoa Foundation Sons & Daughters Scholarship The Alcoa Foundation Sons and Daughters Scholarship Program provides financial aid to students whose parents work for Alcoa Inc. The $1,500 award can be renewed for either one or three years. Applicants must apply as high school seniors and must meet the established academic criteria.
May 14, 2008
For two months, College Board and Karen Dillard's College Prep LP (KDCP), a college test-prep company, have been embroiled in a heated battle over allegations of copyright infringement. The two have now settled, with KDCP agreeing to give College Board $1 million--$400,000 in the form of free tutoring services to low-income high schools.
The problem began when College Board, the administrator of the SAT and AP exams, found through a previous KDCP staff member that KDCP had obtained and used unpublished copies of the SAT. Though President Karen Dillard did admit that her company had obtained the copies without permission, she denied selling the exams or using unpublished materials to tutor students. She instead accused College Board of attempting to monopolize the standardized test-prep business and of obtaining its evidence illegally (grounds for her countersuit).
Eventually, both sides dropped their lawsuit and a compromise between the $300,000 settlement first proposed by Ms. Dillard and the $1.25 million suggested by College Board was reached. College Board also agreed that students tutored by KDCP would not have their SAT exam scores canceled, a measure College Board threatened to take in the wake of the lawsuit.
The New York Times quoted College Board Senior Vice President of Operations Laurence Bunin saying, “We believe that the settlement shows that KDCP acted improperly in copying and distributing a secure SAT test form and other college materials…We have demonstrated that we cannot and will not tolerate such conduct, and that we will take all appropriate steps to protect our tests.”
May 13, 2008
When reviewing your application, scholarship judges knows only what you tell them. Abiding by scholarship etiquette is an important but frequently overlooked way of letting scholarship judges know that your are serious about your future and appreciative of their donations. To maximize your scholarship potential, remember the following scholarship guidelines:
Professional Presentation Most applicants are dedicated to their education, but they often forgot to show it. Presentation is a great way to let the judging panel know that you have considered each part of the application process. Save email addresses such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for your friends. When applying for scholarships, stick with the more serious name and number versions.
The Magic Words Don’t retire the “please” and “thank yous”. Scholarship providers don't have to offer financial aid, but they do. A simple, “thank you for this opportunity,” makes you stand out, and it lets the judges know that you appreciate their efforts.
Spelling Spelling and etiquette may not appear correlated, but they are. Students who take the time to polish their scholarship essays are showing the judging panel that their application is important enough to revise thoroughly. Most word processors are equipped with spelling tools, and applicants should take advantage of them. A few grammar mishaps may be overlooked—not everyone is an expert grammarian—but spelling is vital.
Keep Some Things to Yourself Many students take finances into account when selecting a career. It’s only natural that individuals search for jobs that ensure financial security and a comfortable lifestyle. That being said, keep some things to yourself. You can mention wanting to provide for your family or to wanting to break a cycle of financial struggles, but skip the part about bossing people around, wearing fancy suits or wanting to make millions.
May 12, 2008
As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” area of study scholarship consists of thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors. Included is the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the culinary arts.The way to someone’s heart may be through their stomach, but that's not the reason so many students pursue a culinary arts degree. Whether you dream of opening your own restaurant or joining the future cast of the Food Network, culinary arts classes can help you accomplish your goals. If you have the drive, Scholarships.com will help you buy the gas. By applying for the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, you may find yourself $1,000 closer to becoming a chef.If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified):"What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?"
Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge. 2. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen 3. Applicant must be undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall 4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Culinary Arts or Food Science/Food Industry
Deadline: June 30, 2008
Required Material: A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?”
May 9, 2008
Young adults often join the army hoping that their contributions will serve the nation's good and aid them in affording a quality education. Army.com admits that, “Ninety percent of servicemembers enter the armed forces for the educational benefits.” Unfortunately, an increasing number of veterans are finding their promised aid insufficient in paying for tuition and other costs.
In an interview with MTV, veteran Evan Aanerud expressed his surprise upon finding that, even with financial assistance, he would have to work full time to cover college expenses. When Evan returned from Iraq and enrolled in the California Polytechnic State University, he received only $430 each month. “That’s about the cost of one-quarter of the books, and that’s about all that I got,” he said.
Even servicemen who receive the maximum $1,100 per month as determined by the GI Bill—a law made to cover each veteran’s college expenses---often find the assistance lacking. With College Board estimating the four-year cost of a public, four-year, in-state university at $54,356 and the private one at $129,228, the maximum $39,636 veteran budget just doesn’t cut it.
But there is hope. If a revised version of the current Montgomery GI Bill is passed, veteran students may soon receive a federal student aid boost. According to the proposal, the new GI Bill would pay the full cost of in-state tuition (up to the cost of the most expensive in-state public university) in addition to a housing and book stipend. With bipartisan support, the bill has a chance at passage if opposing congressmen can be convinced that costs are manageable. Having put their lives on the line to serve the nation, many veterans feel that it's the least they deserve.
May 8, 2008
As expected, President Bush signed into law the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008. After receiving bipartisan support from the House and the Senate, the bill aimed at ensuring student loan availability was approved by the president.
Worried that the departure of student lenders from the FFEL Program could make student loans more difficult to obtain, legislators hurried to secure a backup plan. According to House Representative George Miller, “The bill carries no new cost for taxpayers.”
The Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 indicates that:
o The limit on federal loans will soon increase. Students will be able to borrow $2,000 more to cover tuition and other costs.
o Parents will have more time to save for PLUS Loans. Rather than having to pay as soon as money is disbursed, they will have until six months after the child graduates before initial payments are due.
o Families slightly behind on their mortgages or medical bills may still be eligible for PLUS Loans.
o The Secretary of Education has the authority to advance federal funds to student lenders and guaranty agencies acting as lenders of last resort if the lenders run out of capital.
o Shall a lender of last resort plan be put into practice, guaranty agencies acting as lenders will have to abide by rules and restrictions similar to those governing FFEL lenders.
o Congress may call on the Federal Financing Bank to consider injecting money into the student loan market at no cost to the taxpayers.
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